Wednesday, 28 March 2018

#ewew makes Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing

Continuing with my 'redemption' week (or weeks) of eating healthier (post Chinese New Year) and my new found love for Korean strawberries, I resort to salads once again.

I was inspired by phonghong's strawberry salad to make my slightly healthier version of Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing (minus the roasted oinks...hehe!) since I had some strawberries left from my earlier Rainbow Fruit Salad.

Choosing lean chicken as the protein for your salads is, of course, a much healthier alternative than any other meat.  I like to use chicken fillets as I find them more tender and less dry than chicken breasts.  I've been calling them chicken fillets coz that's what the supermarket's packaging says but I recently found out that they're actually called tenderloin.  It's the part of the chicken that's attached to the breast.  Nowadays, when I buy chicken breasts (for Cookie), I would remove the 'precious' tenderloin and save them for my salads...hehe! ;)

I also like to add mushrooms, especially large brown button mushrooms, as they offer juiciness and a meaty flavour to the salad.  Just make sure you slice them thickly coz there's nothing worse than thinly sliced mushrooms that offer no bite in a salad (you're not making a mushroom omelette, yo)! ;P

Pan-fry them both (four chicken tenderloins + 4 large button mushrooms) in olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, until the tenderloins are well-browned and the mushrooms are soft.

Then add the sliced chicken tenderloin and cooked mushrooms to the mixed greens (I used half a packet of pre-washed leaves), strawberries (five, hulled and sliced) and a handful of blueberries (also leftover from the fruit salad I made earlier).

For the vinaigrette, I used a combination of olive oil, honey, garlic and red wine vinegar....yes, red wine vinegar!  I finally got myself a bottle....a cheap one first just to see if I like it before investing more in a better quality one later.  Now that I have red wine vinegar, I probably don't even need lemons anymore since it provides the same level of acidity required.  This allows me to make salad dressings with ease, in fact any time of the day since lemons are not always available in my pantry.

The classic proportion of oil to vinegar is 3:1 (and that's pretty much what everyone says)...but I think you can use any proportion.  It all depends on the olive oil and vinegar you use...some vinegars may be overpowering and tart while some oils can be robust or bland.  So, you need to taste, taste, taste to get your flavours right.

For the brand of olive oil and red wine vinegar I'm using, I went with the following measurements for the vinaigrette...4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 2 cloves of finely minced or mashed garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar, close the lid and shake vigorously for best results.  The acidic nature in the vinegar lets it emulsifies smoothly with the oil to form a well incorporated dressing (without having to blitz it in a blender and having to wash yet another gadget).

The leftover dressing can be stored away in the fridge for use later.  Hmmm, I've not quite decided yet if I like the taste of red wine vinegar maybe because this one was a little sharp (coz it's cheap...haha!).  Also, use extra virgin olive oil (if you have) for salad dressings.  I usually buy only one bottle of olive oil, one that I can use for cooking as well (of western dishes) since it's quite expensive, so I have to sacrifice a bit on the taste (when making salad dressings).

This easy-to-put-together Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing is sufficient for one (as a meal replacement) or two (as a side salad to a main dish).  I do like that the taste of red wine vinegar in the dressing is not as acidic as lemon juice (perhaps a good quality one will taste more fruity)...still it adds flavour to the otherwise bland salad and made it more appetising.

As  much as I'd like to eat salads as a healthier alternative, I do feel (at times) they're hard to ingest (especially if you've had it too regularly).  That's why I loved how the addition of strawberries (and blueberries) gave the salad a fresher and juicier mouthfeel making it easier to take in and digest.

Since including juicy berries in my salads and realising how delicious they can be in a salad (apart from making the salad easier to eat as well), I've been adding other juicy/sweet fruits (like mangoes, watermelon, pears, pineapple, kiwifruit, etc.) to my salads all the time now.

You can vary your protein and vegetables.  Another time I had some red bell peppers and sausages, so I pan-fried them and added those to my salad with juicy berries and mushrooms.  I can get quite a good charring on the bell peppers with my Chefology non-stick frying pan (coz it can sear at a very high heat) and it gets done in mere minutes.

It makes for a nice and very filling salad =)

For those of you who find it hard to eat just greens on its own but still want to eat salads for a healthier meal alternative, try adding some fruits and you'll be liking your salads a lot more! ^_~


  1. I am such a novice inside the kitchen and had to read your details & ingredients several times for better understanding. This is really a bowl of rich salad with many different vegetable greens, fruits and even chicken meat that makes eating very yummy. I have the habit to add some meat or fish otherwise I would eat lesser.

    Now I am curious how you cooked the chicken breast meat for cookie. Yesterday I just read an article about owners feeding their cats and dogs from the food shelves which is a no-no. It really woke me up!

    1. I think lean chicken is the best protein to use for salads...they're tasty as well as healthy :)

      Maybe I should write a post on how I cook chicken breast for Cookie...nah, just kidding. I just steep it in hot water to cook it, that's all (and he likes it that way). I still think giving cats and dogs specialised food from the shelves is still better than giving them whatever food that we eat and can't finish (a lot of households still do that coz of the cost factor). As much as we want to cook special food for our pets, many of us can't or don't have the time to do that...heck, we don't even cook for ourselves often enough.

  2. Oh! I see that you also added blueberries to your salad and I that that is brilliant! Well, I hope you enjoy your red wine vinegar. I too must do penance as I have been eating out too often (and eating too much carbs), so I will be eating more salads too!

    1. I like how we used the words "redemption" and "penance" in the same sentence as salads. If given a choice and other food choices aren't unhealthy, salads will be the last thing on our minds! :P

  3. berry good! maybe you can embark on a whole series of different fruit salads - my request is for a cherry salad! :D

    1. I've always thought of cherries as a garnish...something you'd find on a cake or in a cocktail...haha! :D I'm not sure if I'd like a cherry salad since cherries are sweet.

  4. For a salad meal, I want bigger portion than yours, perhaps add a hard boiled egg, some nuts and more meat, haha!

    1. Oh, there was more that I haven't plated! ;) Ah, I see you like to add hard-boiled eggs into your salad of fruits and vegetables too, like me.


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